Ant & Dec's DNA Journey: Viewers in tears as they praise duo's 'unbreakable' friendship after McPartlin discusses his addiction struggles and says he's 'forever grateful for the love we have'
Ant McPartlin candidly discussed his past addiction struggles and how it impacted his 31-year friendship with Declan Donnelly on their new documentary, Ant &Dec's DNA Journey, on Sunday evening.
Presenter Ant, 43 - who admitted himself to rehab after he was arrested for a drink-driving conviction last year - revealed he decided to take a step back from work to 'repair' his relationships, especially with 'supportive' Dec, 44.
The dynamic duo's frank discussion left viewers in 'tears' as ITV star Ant enthused his close friend 'means the world to me', causing fans to praise the pal's 'unbreakable' bond'.
'A lot has happened in these two years': Ant McPartlin candidly discussed his past addiction struggles on his new documentary, Ant &Dec's DNA Journey, on Sunday evening
For the show, I'm A Celeb hosts Ant and Dec embarked on a two-year journey with expert genealogists and historians to follow their maternal and paternal blood lines, and eventually meet their long-lost family members.
The pair kicked off the task in 2017, but the documentary was halted for two years while Ant took a break from work to battle his addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. He admitted himself to rehab for further treatment.
Reflecting on his return to the spotlight, Ant admitted: 'A lot has happened in those two years.'
When asked about what he's been up to during his time away from his career, the BGT star joked: 'Not a lot! Just a little break, you know'.
'He's been a very kind man who was supportive of me': Presenter Ant, 43, also touched on how his battle impacted his 31-year friendship with Declan Donnelly, 44
Stronger than ever: The dynamic duo's frank discussion left viewers in 'tears' as ITV star Ant enthused his close friend 'means the world to me'
Task: The I'm A Celeb hosts embarked on a two-year journey with expert genealogists and historians around the world to eventually meet their long-lost family members
Reflection: The pair kicked off the task in 2017, but the documentary was halted for two years while Ant took a break from work to battle his addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs
Dec recalled: 'The last thing I remember was we got a DNA alert while in Ireland telling us we had to go to New York which was very exciting news, then life took a bit of a turn and we didn't make it to New York.'
As they prepared to continue their DNA journey in the Big Apple, Text Santa star Ant discussed how his issues not only affected him personally, but also had an impact on his friendship with Dec.
'The last few years have been quite emotional, hard. They've been testing I would say in terms of how strong your friendship is', Ant explained.
Former Pop Idol host Dec shared his thoughts on the slight fracture in their relationship as he confessed he was 'disappointed and angry' that Ant didn't reach out to him for help.
'The last few years have been quite hard': Text Santa star Ant discussed how his issues not only affected him personally, but also had an impact on his friendship with Dec
'I was disappointed and angry': Former Pop Idol host Dec shared his thoughts on the slight fracture in their relationship
He elaborated: 'It's been a tough couple of years, it's really tested the bond that we've shared since we were 13 years old.
'I was incredibly angry at the start, so angry, disappointed in him that he didn't ever come to me and say, "I'm struggling, I need you".
'If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have gone to him and said, "I'm in trouble, I can't handle this and I need your help". He never came to me and that hurt me a lot.'
Dec admitted he was 'filled with fear' at the thought of no longer having Ant by his side.
'There was a point where I thought that that was it,' Dec said. 'There were times where I wasn't sure it was going to survive.
'Times where you didn't know it needed to survive or you wanted it to survive.
'All the while he was away I wasn't sure where his head was at or if he was going to say "none of this is for me".
'I became really sad and really sympathetic': Dec later realised he was 'feeling selfish', and wanted to be compassionate towards his friend
'I didn't know what he wanted to do and for the first time in 30 years I had to think about what I was going to do and if I was going to go out on my own. The thought of that filled me with fear.'
After a lengthy stint away from the spotlight, Ant returned to television, hosting this year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent and will return to the Australian jungle for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! later this month.
Dec later realised he was 'feeling selfish', and wanted to be compassionate towards his friend.
He shared: 'Ultimately you realise all those feeling are a bit selfish because they are all about you and how about what he was going through and the unhappiness he felt and how he must have felt to be in that situation, and that is when I became really sad and really sympathetic.'
In their element: The pair's documentary saw the duo travel far and wide (pictured in a village in County Leitrim, Ireland)
Insisting he sees where his friend is coming from, Newcastle native Ant added: 'I knew he was angry and understandably so because my actions not only affect me, they affect him and his family and his loved ones.'
'Because to be in those depths of despair, he must have been so unhappy. And that is where ultimately the care and compassion you have for that person overrides everything and you just want them to get better and get support for them.'
Hailing the pair as 'brave and heartwarming', viewers were left overwhelmed with emotion over their honest TV appearance.
Fans tweeted: '@antanddec honest, brave and heartwarming. You both show true friendship is totally unbreakable. #DNAjourney.
You've got a friend in me: Expressing his gratitude towards Dec, the Alien Autopsy actor gushed: 'Dec's been a very kind man who was supportive of me' (pictured with his dog Hurley)
'Absolutely loved @antanddec #DNAjourney tonight! The bond those two men have is unbreakable, I was so emotional watching it! Well done to you both, brilliant TV!
'Laughter and tears had watching #DNAjourney loving the comparison gif below @antanddec.
'I usually don't cry from TV or movies... But dear God that had me in tears... #DNAjourney @antanddec.
'Brilliant show, had me in tears, I grew up on the shores of Lough Neagh looking across the lough towards Slieve Gallion and my late father used to sing Slieve Gallion Braes ❤️ x #DNAjourney.
'#DNAjourney Iv really enjoyed this, full of laughter full of tears emotional roller-coaster. Ant"s war hero then Dec"s wrestling cousin. Looking forward to the 2nd show.
'Such an interesting documentary, filled me with laughs but also a few tears. I once thought I had a friendship that was even half like yours, sadly it turned out very different.You should always appreciate the good people in your life. I love@antanddec.❤ #DNAjourney.
'@antanddec #DNAjourney. Just watched it, two amazing people. It did bring a tear to my eye. And it goes to show that friendship really is the most important thing.Appreciate family and friends, always.
'I gotta say that I'm so proud of what Ant and Dec have accomplished. What a friendship they have... Dec is probably the best friend ever and Ant's strength to fought his problems is unbelievable. #DNAjourney.
Touched: Hailing the pair as 'brave and heartwarming', viewers were left overwhelmed with emotion over their honest TV appearance
'@antanddec #DNAjourney raw brave honest heartfelt.Both so so brave. What an amazing program. Men need to talk and men need their friends.' [sic]
Expressing his gratitude towards Dec, Alien Autopsy actor Ant gushed: 'Dec's been fantastic, he's been a very kind man who was supportive of me.
'Our friendship has been tested and we've come through the other end and I'll be forever grateful and thankful for the love we have.'
'I thought that the public had had enough. I thought that I wouldn't be allowed to do what I love anymore which was a very sad affair.
'Coming back and just being back on screen and the affection and love the public have shown has been quite overwhelming and very emotional. I can't thank people enough.
'Doing this show has... we respect each other more. He means the world to me, his wellbeing, his happiness, his health means everything to me.
'Every day is a bonus, being back at work is a bonus, being allowed to do what I do is a bonus. Being back with my best friend is a bonus. I know how lucky I am.'
'It's such a relief to have him back', a delighted Dec added. 'We're much stronger together now, but our priorities have changed, our friendship now comes first.'
Back on screens soon: The two-part series concludes on Monday at 9PM on ITV